Facing the Indiana Hoosiers has always been a tall task for the Michigan basketball program, (which their 49-84 all time record indicates). Recent history has been just as unkind to the Wolverines. A 2-8 record over the past ten games and six straight losses to Mike Davis' squad has Michigan coach Tommy Amaker looking to try something different.
Instead of traveling to Bloomington the night before the game (Tuesday evening), the Wolverines will instead make the trip both to and from Indiana on Wednesday. "We thought of just changing the routine," Amaker said. "We can evaluate that afterward and see how we feel about it. Change isn't always the worst thing in the world, especially when we haven't had much success there. It's not like we're changing something that has worked."
One thing working in Michigan's favor is their early success on the road in Big Ten play. Hard fought victories at Iowa and at Penn State have given Amaker's unit something to build upon. "We feel like we're playing with a confidence factor on the road so far having won the last two games on the road," Amaker said. "Hopefully that will allow us to play better down in Bloomington. We recognize that they're playing much better. I think they have won five out of their last six and their last two in a row. I'm sure they're going to be fired up to try and win this game. It would put them over .500 for their overall record and they would be 3-1 and a half game ahead of us in the standings if they were to knock us off. It's an important game for both teams."
The single biggest key to victory will likely be the Maize and Blue's ability to contain Big Ten conference scoring leader Bracey Wright. Limiting his customary output of 19.1 points per game won't be a task assigned to any individual player like it was to Bernard Robinson Jr. in the past. "All of our players are going to have to guard him," Amaker said "Daniel, Dion, Ronnie, John Andrews…all of the perimeter guys that we are going to play are at some point going to be matched up with him just by the nature of how the game is played with match-ups, switching, and talking on defense. We all have to be aware of him. It's almost like an awareness for #4. Very few people have been able to shut him down. We certainly haven't over the years. He has really been a thorn in our sides with the way he ahs played. He is such a big weapon and threat and such an outstanding offensive player. He moves well without the ball, makes his free throws, has deep range on his jumpshot…he is just a threat all over the floor. Watching him on film you get a great deal of respect for him because he works really well off of the ball and hard. He makes hard cuts and uses screens well…and obviously they look for him."
So too will the Wolverine defenders.
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more from Coach Amaker and various Michigan players.